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President Russ Anderson: What is the real value of an agent? It's not always obvious.

Three People Looking Out of a HighriseEach Friday, Russ Anderson, the president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty writes about luxury, trends, business and more in the advertising pages of the Mansion section of The Wall Street Journal. Below is a combination of his letters of January 26 and March 1, 2024.




You cannot put a price on this.

When you hire a real estate agent and pay them a commission, you’re not just compensating them for the time and effort they just put into one transaction — you’re benefiting from their education, connections, resources, knowledge and expertise.

Every one of those takes years to develop.

If you’ve worked with us, you know about an agent’s worth. But some may not. We’ve honed the value of a professional agent to 10 big concepts — among the hundreds of things they do. Here are the first five; the rest will come in my next post. And know this: I witness these things every single day.

1) Agents have deep knowledge. These pros know everything about the local market, including pricing trends, neighborhoods and what clients are looking for. This helps you make informed decisions.

2) They negotiate. An experienced agent has honed these skills over many, many transactions. This can help you get the best price for your property — and keep you from overpaying for your next one.

3) They network. Agents have trusted resources — from inspectors to painters to mortgage lenders — and these special relationships can speed up processes or uncover opportunities you may never have found.

4) They know the fine print. Real estate transactions involve a lot of legal paperwork. An experienced agent can help you navigate contracts, quickly, reducing the risk of costly mistakes.

5) They solve problems. Every transaction has its challenges. But an experienced agent has encountered and overcome many hurdles and can use that experience to address any issues that arise.

6) Agents save you time. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work they do, including market research, marketing strategy, talking with other agents and handling lots of paperwork.

7) They can help long after the transaction. Agents can offer advice on future — and valuable — home improvements, market trends and when might be a good time to buy or sell again.

8) They help you mitigate risks. Mistakes in real estate can be costly, whether it’s missing a disclosure or not understanding a contingency in a contract.

9) They learn, continually. The real estate market and the industry’s regulations are always evolving. Professional agents invest in ongoing education, ensuring they provide the very best service to their clients.

10) Agents can buffer emotions. This is big. Buying or selling a home is often emotionally charged. An experienced agent can help ensure that those emotions don’t cloud judgment or derail a transaction.

So, you see, an agent’s commission is compensation for the blood, sweat, tears, hours and dollars they have invested to develop the knowledge and instincts that help you achieve your goals. You benefit from their education, connections, resources and expertise.

And that is value that I find, frankly, priceless.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, I happen to know about 400 professionals who can demonstrate their value, anytime, anywhere. 


Russ Anderson

President and CEO

Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty


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